“Suffering people … ransack the entrails of their past and present, looking for dark and dubious stories, in which they are free to feast on an agonizing suspicion and to get intoxicated on their own poisonous anger. They rip open the oldest wounds, they bleed themselves to death from long-healed scars.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
Some scars are worn proudly as trophies of hard-fought battles lost or won. Some scars come naturally like a laugh passed down from father to son. Some scars serve as notches, hard-earned guideposts scratched courageously on the wheel of time. Some scars inspire endless anxiety, while others reveal the grace of a much greater design.
Yet, some scars never fully appear, because the wounds which cause scars are never allowed to heal.
Some men can’t help clawing at their scabs — especially when they feel they have suffered grievous public harm — and thus they seek justice, not time, as the only salve sufficient to heal their scars. Do such men find the remedial justice they seek? No, not often, and then only in the fullness of time. But they do often pick up unnecessary bruises and lacerations along the way.
Just ask Alabama’s former U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks.
Brooks is not satisfied with letting the wounds of his ignominious 2022 U.S. Senate election loss scab over any time soon. He continues to be a gadfly, remaining a fervent critic of his former backer, President Donald Trump, as well as his former campaign opponent, U.S. Sen. Katie Britt.
Brooks went so far recently as to tacitly accuse certain forces within the ALGOP of deep corruption in his 2022 campaign loss. “Communist China is very much aware of my views,” Brooks said in a May radio interview, “so they did everything they could to assist the election of somebody else to the United States Senate in 2022.”
Britt’s spokesman, the wunderkind Sean Ross, was quick to pummel Brooks as "detached from reality, an insult to Alabama voters, and an embarrassment to the Alabama Republican Party."
Calls for an ethics investigation into Brooks' comments then emerged from ALGOP executive committee member, Wayne Reynolds.
Despite the barrage of criticism, Brooks remains defiant, sticking by his claims of Chinese assistance and dismissing the ethics complaint as "100% bogus.”
Given my own built-in prejudice that the American political status quo is irredeemably corrupt, I don’t dismiss Brook’s claims swiftly. My gut tells me he might be onto something.
The dark money flowing in and out of Washington, D.C., from foreign interests, especially from China, is well-documented by the likes of Peter Schwierzer. Even Trump, in the lead-up to the 2022 election, accused “Cocaine Mitch” and his “crazy wife” Elaine Chao of getting rich off of China.
That said, Brooks’ allegations about the CCP’s role in his lost 2022 Senate bid are incredibly vague. So vague that the usual schemes of “plausible deniability” (I swear there’s no elephant under that handkerchief! Nothing to see here but a handkerchief!) aren’t even necessary in response. If Brooks’ accusations are true, I would like to see the detailed receipts. Such vague accusations will never shine a bright enough light to properly expose the dark political money problem.
Brooks’ even vaguer response to Wayne Reynolds’ ethics complaint — “I never said that there was a particular candidate in the race that the CCP favored. All I said was that they strongly disfavored me” — is too cute by half. Lawyerly torture of the King’s English may be a fitting argument in an ethics complaint dispute, but such isn’t going to uncover Beltway corruption.
I was more than happy with the likely prospect of Brooks serving as my very own conservative gadfly in the U.S. Senate. I would also be happy to see Brooks prove his allegations about China’s role in the 2022 election.
But I am sick of seeing ugly shows of self-inflicted pain done in vain. I am nauseated from witnessing conservative politicians fall on the sword of their principles to no considerable effect whatsoever. I am queasy from watching past political losers make excuses about a corrupt system to cover their own weaknesses and abject inabilities to defeat that same corrupt system. Get off the cross, you feckless martyrs; we need the wood to build something useful, not just another grift!
Yet I am most demoralized by the rise of a new common currency in American politics: resentment.
Everyone “cool” in American politics today — left, right or center — is trading in this new coin of the realm, buying and selling resentful shares of the people’s suffering for the sake of profane power plays, ripping open the oldest wounds of our young nation’s history just for cynical political ends.
Instead of further resentment, Americans should have the patience of basic faith that our wounds, old and new, will eventually be healed in the fullness of time. Even if we cannot expect justice to be fully served in our limited time here under the sun, long-healed scars need not be ripped open to bleed this nation to death.
As for Brooks, he should probably just allow more time for his 2022 election wounds to fully heal. If your wounds are that itchy, Mo, buy yourself some mittens. But that’s just my almost worthless, almost friendly advice.
As an alternative remedy, maybe Brooks should take his own advice, the same advice he gave to a rain-soaked crowd at a 2022 Trump rally in Cullman regarding the 2020 election: “Put that behind you, put that behind you…look forward, look forward, look forward.”
Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email email@example.com.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.
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